The Clock is Ticking

OK, so this post is a bit alarmist. Consider yourself forewarned.

Part of Update 5 will be an overhaul of the various instance tokens and skirmish mark systems presently in place.  There is going to be a three-tier system put in place with different currencies dropping from skirmishes and other instances based on size and difficulty.  Okay, that will cause issues by itself, but I’ll get into that in a little while.  Some people have been saying that the rate at which you earn marks in the new system is completely out of whack. While Update 5 is still in beta, this should make you sit up and take note. From that thread and other reviews of Update 5, I have formed the following opinions:

  1. Better the devil that you know: The present system for earning marks which you can turn in for gear is a grind.  There is a serious potential for the system after Update 5 to be even more of a grind. My thoughts are that people should go earn as much gear as possible right now, do not wait.
  2. By their gear shall you know them: There will once again be a distinct division between raiders, instancers, and solo players.  Raiders will have the best gear, instancers will have the second-best, and solo players will have the trash that no one else wants.  The biggest problem in this stratified model is that it is nearly impossible to move up the ladder.  Instancers don’t want you around unless you are geared for instances, which you cannot do unless you get invited into an instance group.  Get it?  This happens in every MMO which features raiding in an exclusive manner, and there is no reason to expect that human nature will be any different in LotRO.
  3. Time to punch in: The reward to cost ratio for skirmishes is absurd, at present.  It is being looked at.  Let’s hope it gets serious revisions, or skirmishing will literally be a second full-time job if you want to get anything done.
  4. It’s just a game: This simple fact is getting lost in the shuffle. LotRO is an entertaining game, but it is only a game – Right now, it is relatively casual and relaxed – something you can do to unwind after a day of work. Hopefully, it stays that way and doesn’t turn into a grind-fest.

So, there.  I have vented and don’t regret it. I am whole-heartedly subscribing to item number one, though. So, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be trolling the Unite channel on Vilya for skirmishes and instances.  Burhhelm needs some new pants.

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